english.prescrire.org > Spotlight > Archives : 2015 > Prescrire's Drug Packaging Awards for 2014: one winner, but still too many dangerous flaws

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Prescrire's Drug Packaging Awards for 2014: one winner, but still too many dangerous flaws

Prescrire Packaging AwardsThe annual packaging awards by independent French medical journal Prescrire demonstrate that quality drug packaging is within reach for drug companies. But too much drug packaging is dangerous and too many leaflets are incomplete.

In the course of reviewing new drugs, Prescrire methodically examines drug packaging. In 2014, Prescrire carried out around 250 such analyses, in order to single out quality packaging, and also to detect packaging that can give rise to confusion or even danger. All aspects of the packaging are examined: the labelling of the boxes, blister packs, bottles, syringes, etc.; any devices supplied in the box for the preparation or administration of the drugs; safety features such as caps; as well as the informational value of the leaflets as regards directions for use, adverse effects, etc.

For 2014, Prescrire handed out a Packaging Award to brimonidine gel (Mirvaso° gel), authorised for treatment of rosacea. The tube includes a child-proof cap that is difficult to unscrew, protecting children from accidental ingestion of the drug, which can lead to serious adverse effects including respiratory disorders, cardiac rhythm disorders and psychomotor hyperactivity.

In contrast to this progress, dangerous drug packaging still abounded in 2014, as demonstrated by 8 "Yellow Cards" and 19 "Red Cards" handed out with this year's awards.

For things to change, the most effective day-to-day measure is for healthcare professionals and patients to report errors and dangers, whether or not any clinical incidents have occurred. These reports remind drug companies and agencies of their responsibility for accidents caused by packaging and for dangers identified on the market, and encourage them to take action to improve patient safety.

©Prescrire 1 February 2015

"The Prescrire Awards 2014" Prescrire Int 2015 ; 24 (158) : 74-79. (pdf, free)

Download the full review
Pdf, free

The Prescrire Packaging
Awards for 2014
(February 2015)